Ivo Andric

For the politician of Bosnia and Herzegovina, see Ivo Andrić-Lužanski.

Ivo Andrić
Born (1892-10-09)9 October 1892
Dolac (village near Travnik), Austro-Hungarian Empire
Died 13 March 1975(1975-03-13) (aged 82)
Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Occupation Novelist, short story writer
Nationality Yugoslav
Notable award(s) Nobel Prize in Literature (1961)

Ivan "Ivo" Andrić (pronounced [ǐʋan ǐːʋɔ ǎːndritɕ]) (9 October 1892 – 13 March 1975) was a Yugoslav novelist,[1][2] short story writer, and the 1961 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.[3] His writings dealt mainly with life in his native Bosnia under the Ottoman Empire. His native house in Travnik has been transformed into a Museum, and his Belgrade flat on Andrićev Venac hosts the Museum of Ivo Andrić, and Ivo Andrić Foundation.


Ivan Andrić was born on 9 October 1892, to Bosnian Croat[4][5] parents in Travnik, in Austro-Hungarian–controlled Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was born as Ivan, but became known by the diminutive Ivo. When Andrić was two years old, his father Antun died. Because his mother Katarina was too poor to support him, he was raised by his mother's family in the town of Višegrad on the river Drina in eastern Bosnia, where he saw the 16th-century Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge, later made famous in his novel The Bridge on the Drina (Na Drini ćuprija).[6]

Andrić attended the Jesuit gymnasium in Travnik, followed by Sarajevo's gymnasium and later he studied philosophy at the Universities of Zagreb (1912 and 1918), Vienna (1913), Kraków (1914), and Graz (PhD, 1924).[7] Because of his political activities, Andrić was imprisoned by the Austrian government during World War I (first in Maribor and later in the Doboj detention camp) alongside other pro-Yugoslav civilians.

Andric started his literary career as a poet. In 1914 he was one of the contributors to Hrvatska mlada lirika (Young Croatian Lyrics).[8]

Under the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later Kingdom of Yugoslavia) Andrić became a civil servant, first in the Ministry of Faiths and then the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he pursued a successful diplomatic career as Deputy Foreign Minister.

During his diplomatic service, he worked in embassy at Holy See (1920), consulates in Bucharest, Trieste and Graz (1924), consulates in Paris and Marseilles (1927), and embassy in Madrid (1928). In 1939 he was appointed ambassador in Germany. He was also a delegate of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia at the 19th, 21st, 23rd and 24th sessions of the League of Nations in Geneva in period 1930–1934.[9] Andrić greatly opposed the movement of Stjepan Radić, the president of the Croatian Peasant Party. His ambassadorship ended in 1941 after the German invasion of Yugoslavia. During World War II, Andrić lived quietly in Belgrade, completing three of his most famous novels which were published in 1945, including The Bridge on the Drina.

After the war, Andrić spent most of his time in his home in Belgrade and held a number of ceremonial posts in the new Communist government of Yugoslavia, and was also a member of the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1961, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country". He donated all of the prize money for the improvement of libraries in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.[10]

Following the death of his second wife, Milica Babić-Andrić, in 1968, he began reducing his public activities. In 1969 he was elected an honorary member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina[11] and in 1972 the University of Belgrade awarded him an honorary doctorate.[12] As time went by, he grew increasingly ill and eventually died on 13 March 1975, in Belgrade, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia.

He was buried in the Belgrade New Cemetery, in the Alley of Distinguished Citizens.[13]


The material for his works was mainly drawn from the history, folklore, and cultureof his native Bosnia.

Those were all released in 1945 and written during World War II while Andrić was living quietly in Belgrade. They are often referred to as the"Bosnian trilogy" as they were released simultaneously and had been written in the same period. However, they are connected only thematically—they are indeed three completely different works.

Some of his other popular works include:

  • Ex Ponto[16] (1918)
  • Unrest[16] (Nemiri, 1920)
  • The Journey of Alija Đerzelez[17] (Put Alije Đerzeleza, 1920)
  • The Vizier's Elephant[18] (Priča o vezirovom slonu, 1948; trans. 1962)
  • The Damned Yard[19] (Prokleta avlija, 1954)
  • Omer-Pasha Latas[20] (Omerpaša Latas, released posthumously in 1977)

His manuscripts and literary legacy are in the custody of the foundation he founded (Fondacija Ive Andrića) and Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.[21] Some of his manuscripts and literary legacy are in custody of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Institute for the History of Croatian Literature, Theater and Music in Zagreb.[22]

Some claim that the works of Andrić, particularly his thesis The Development of Spiritual Life in Bosnia under the Influence of Turkish Rulehave resurfaced as a source of anti-Muslim prejudice in Serbian cultural discourse.[23]


Because of Andrić's unique circumstances (born in Bosnia to Croat parents, later living and working in Serbia), he is claimed as part of Serbian literature,[24][25][26][27] Croatian literature,[3][28] and Bosnian literature.[29] Throughout his life, he worked in all three countries and contributed material to their various publications. In terms of what language or dialect he wrote in, he wrote in Serbo-Croatian, which was officially considered one language in Yugoslavia; he had been a believer in Yugoslav unity and Pan-slavism. However, it must be mentioned that Serbo-Croatian used to have two different subtypes – the Eastern standardization (spread in Montenegro, Serbia and partly in Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Western standardization that is common in Croatia and partly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although Andrić mostly used the Serbian form of Serbo-Croatian (ekavian accent of Shtokavian dialect, commonly spoken in Serbia), his early works were written in the Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin form (ijekavian accent of the Shtokavian dialect, commonly spoken in Bosnia).[29]

There was also a more specific, and more fundamental, divide—that between ekavian and ijekavian standards of then-Serbo-Croat – Andrić wrote in the ijekavian form (standard in both Western standard Croatia, middle-of-the-road standard Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Eastern standard Montenegro) only in his youth. As a mature writer, he wrote and published in ekavian (the official standard only in Serbia), even when depicting characters who live in Bosnia and who are quoted as speaking ijekavian accent in the dialogues, that stand out in otherwise ekavian text.

Andrić never used the translated equivalents of foreign words, as used to be common in Western, Croat standard, but international words, as is the rule in Serbian, Eastern standard.

Bosnians (to wit, all three groups in Bosnia, i.e. Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats, ant to some degrees Bosnian Moslems aka Bosniaks) celebrate Andrić as a native son, as he was born and raised in Bosnia and set most of his stories in his native land. His doctoral thesis was on the cultural history of Bosnia under Turkish rule titled The Development of Spiritual Life in Bosnia under the Influence of Turkish Rule, extremely critical of Islam, and for a time banned in Moslem-controlled parts of Bosnia, and an example of one of his many writings dealing with Bosnia.

Croatians point to his Croat heritage—both of his parents were Roman Catholic Croats in Bosnia. He declared himself a Croat while studying in Kraków in 1914, and had his work published in various Croatian publications. Andrić wrote in the Serbo-Croatian language's ijekavian accent until the formation of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) and his move to Belgrade, where he began writing in ekavian and embraced the Yugoslav cause.

Serbian sources claim him as a Serbian writer, saying that he mainly wrote in the ekavian standard that exists only in the Serbian language. Andrić self-declared as a Serb when he married Milica Babić in 1958 in Belgrade.[30] He also became a member of the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts.


  • Ivo Andric, The Bridge on the Drina – The University of Chicago Press, 1977 – two biographical notes written by William H. McNeill and Lovett F. Edwards

External links

  • Andric at NobelPrize.org
  • The Swedish Academy secretary Anders Österling presentation speech
  • Ivo Andrić Museum and Foundation
  • Paths, a short essay by Ivo Andric, translated by Lazar Pascanovic
  • Several poems by Ivo Andrić translated into English and French
  • Ivo Andric Revisited: The Bridge Still Stands
  • Travnik memorial house (Portal of City of Travnik) (Bosnian)
  • Ivo Andric Appartament 144 - Virtual tour

Template:Nobel Prize in Literature Laureates 1951-1975

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